7 Things Successful People Say 'No' to at Work — Every Single Time



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AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger

No. It’s just one word, two letters. It seems simple to say. Except that no is one of the hardest words to mumble. 

Some of the most successful people say no all the time, however.

“I was 40 years old before I learned to say no,” Oprah, for example, has said. “I was consumed by the disease to please. The word yes would be out of my mouth before I even knew it.”

While we live in a world that convinces us to say yes to everything — to keep an open mind and welcome opportunities — it’s just as important, if not more important, to set boundaries. Setting boundaries by saying no to what doesn’t serve us helps us to keep on the right track and prevents us from burning out.

That’s right: Contrary to popular belief, saying no can lead you to success. As Warren Buffer puts it: “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

Saying no to everything isn’t easy. But saying no to these 7 things to start can put you on the right track to success, too.

1. Say no to opportunities when they don’t suit you.

While you might feel compelled to welcome any and all opportunities, it’s wise to stop and think about whether or not the opportunity at hand will actually help lead you to your greater goals. If, instead, it’ll only sidetrack you from what’s important, it may be best to say no.

2. Say no to traditional networking.

Networking, as it’s often thought of, can feel phony. Walking into a room full of strangers to schmooze with boastful stories and fancy business cards isn’t how you build productive, respectful relationships. You can network in other ways that feel more natural, such as reaching out to people who inspire you and asking to be introduced to mutual connections.

3. Say no to working too much.

There’s a big difference between being a dedicated worker and being a “workaholic.” Becoming addicted to work can lead to serious burnout, which helps neither you nor your company in the long run.

4. Say no to doing the work yourself.

While many believe that if you want to get something done, you should do it yourself, that sentiment isn’t always true. Oftentimes, delegation is key. There may be someone or a team who can do the work much more efficiently than you can.

5. Say no to letting self-care fall to the wayside.

Successful people understand that working hard at the office isn’t the only kind of work you need to put in to reach your goals. You also need to focus on your physical and mental health in order to keep yourself from burning out. Endless research suggests that exercising and implementing relaxation techniques to your daily regimen are both key to your job performance.

6. Say no to sticking to your priorities.

Priorities are great — they help you to organize your to-do list in a productive and efficient way. That said, sometimes, priorities change. And it’s important to take a step back every now and then to reflect on your priorities and consider whether or not you’re still tackling your goals in the best sequence.

7. Say no to people who drag you down.

The chances are that you’re not going to be best buds with everyone in your workplace. Sometimes, you just have to collaborate and even report to people with whom you don’t necessarily see eye to eye. That’s just part of being a professional. But successful people don’t put up with others’ negativity in the process. They set boundaries so as to not let others’ energies affect their workplace performances.

AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.
This article was written by a FGB Contributor.